Thu 08 Oct 2015

Of Poetry and Wine


Last Christmas we asked members to send in their favourite recipes for using up leftovers from festive meals. One member, Anne Stevenson, sent us a poem instead. As today is National Poetry Day, we thought we’d share it …


Life is too short to drink bad poetry or read bad wine.

A Loaf of Bread, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, by Edmund Dulac

A Loaf of Bread, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, by Edmund Dulac

And if by this turnabout of terms you’re puzzled

Please don’t think I’m off my head or sozzled.

Think of the long dependency between

Insatiable poets and the cultured vine –

Of Li Po drowning in the moon’s embrace,

Ecstasy not anguish in his face,

Of psalmist David’s purple stainéd mouth

And Keats’s draught of vintage from the south,

Of Omar’s jug of wine beneath the bough –

Forget the loaf, but hang on to the ‘thou’,

Lord Byron, lifting high his Samian bowl

To women and wine, then paying with his soul.

O poets! Neglect to your cost this golden rule:

Without a wine of the mind most poems are plonk;

Without its poetry, wine just makes you drunk.

Marry the two and merrily go to it,

But don’t go o’er the top and overdo it.

For if you do, and rue it, Christmas Cheer

Could be a memorable Lament by the New Year.


Anne Stevenson, Wine Society member





Categories : Miscellaneous


  1. David Wright says:

    “Telemachus let them talk, and went along to his father’s storeroom, a big and lofty chamber stacked with gold and bronze, and with chests full of clothing, and stores of fragrant oil. There, too, shoulder to shoulder along the wall, stood jars of mellow vintage wine, full of the true unblended juice, waiting for the day when Odysseus, for all he had suffered, should find his home again.”
    Homer, The Odyssey

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